Book Review: Lithium 6 by Risto Isomaki

Lithium-6 by Risto Isomaki
Lithium-6 by Risto Isomaki

Title: Lithium 6

Author: Risto Isomaki, Owen F. Witesman (Translator)

Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Finnish Literature

Publisher: AmazonCrossing

Published: October 6, 2015

Page Amount: 343 pages

Blurb From Goodreads:In the span of a few days, six tons of lithium-6 are stolen in Japan, and 180 grams of plutonium vanish in France. Word of these crimes quickly reaches Colonel Kenneth Andrews at the US Nuclear Terrorism Unit. He mobilizes the best team in nuclear defense, including special agents—and couple—Lauri Nurmi and Alice Donovan.

As this secret task force sets out to find the contraband elements, they begin to fear that someone is developing a doomsday weapon. Breeder reactors are being installed around the world to provide clean energy, but they also present risks: every shipment of fuel to a nuclear power station gives terrorists an opportunity to create a nuclear weapon. When Lauri and Alice realize that they have a global conflict on their hands, one in which the definition of terrorist is a moving target, they’ll put their relationship—and their lives—in jeopardy to venture headfirst toward a new and dangerous front line. But in this game of nuclear reaction, what holds the most power to destroy the world as we know it—the weapon itself or the fear it inspires?

Why Read: Another NetGalley read as per usual… but if you know me at all, then you’ll know how much I love anything about nuclear fictional books. It helps that this book in particular is about terrorism and achieves that great byplay between two different sides of the same story, which eventually come together to great effect.

Review: The thing about Lithium-6 is that it has both the potential to be a good airline read, while simultaneously having the details and the basis for something more. There’s nothing, of course, inherently wrong with an airline novel. However, Lithium-6 seems to embody a deeper kind of novel that asks how truly safe our nuclear system is. What makes me say that is the end portion of the book, a perhaps unnecessary section, that the author includes to describe why is he writing this book and what research has taken place. As I first began reading, it seemed superfluous :”epilogue-esque”. But getting a better understanding of what was fiction and what was non-fiction was surprisingly enlightening.

As you can imagine, the parts of the book that dealt with the day-by-day runnings of a nuclear terrorism agency were my favorites. How do people find illegal uranium shipments? How easy is it? According to this book – it can be too easy. Our “sustainable” nuclear system is dangerous. Breaking apart atoms isn’t natural in any sense of the world and can have devastating consequences if misused.

Much as I enjoyed the concept of a nuclear fiction book, I couldn’t help but be bothered by the character development. I never felt as though I truly understand the motivations of Lauri or Alice. Furthermore, the interactions between characters seemed altogether stilted. Nevertheless, focusing on the plot at hand and the concept of nuclear terrorism yielded a good couple hours learning about nuclear fission.

Read this if you’re a fan of nuclear knowledge. I wouldn’t recommend it for those looking for a book that truly encompasses the concept of character development. However there are other reasons to read a book and if any of that appeals to you – then go ahead!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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